Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Fall of Rome

September 22nd, 2011 by G.

By W.H. Auden.

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar’s double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

Its the last stanza that makes the poem, I’m convinced.

Comments (5)
Filed under: We transcend your bourgeois categories | No Tag
No Tag
September 22nd, 2011 11:21:50

September 22, 2011

Altogether elsewhere is an attractive place to be when civilizations crumble.

MC in Alaska
September 22, 2011

Does this mean I’m OK where I’m at? Although here we call them caribou unless they’ve been domesticated.

Adam G.
September 22, 2011

Dear Magog C. in Alaska,
yes, you will survive the fall of Rome in style.

September 22, 2011

On one hand, the modern fall of Rome is going to be nothing to sneeze at. Survival is going to be dodgy for a while. But once that is done, we get to do what few others have done…. and that is make a new civilization from the ground up. And honestly, that does excite me.

Adam G.
September 23, 2011

Zen, thanks for ruining my joke by turning it into an analogy or even a type. Boo!

But running with it, we’re not close to the fall of Rome yet, only the fall of the Republic. And even that is early days yet.

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